Hughes 500 series helicopters

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The MD Helicopters MD 500 series is an American family of light utility civilian and military helicopters. The MD 500 was developed from the Hughes 500, a civilian version of the US Army's OH-6A Cayuse/Loach. The series currently includes the MD 500E, MD 520N, and MD 530F.

The MD 500 was initially produced by Hughes Helicopters as the Hughes 500. Since being introduced in 1967, numerous models have been produced, often featuring a more powerful engine or a five-bladed main rotor in place of the original four-blade counterpart. The MD 500 has been commonly used for utility work, particularly the MD 530F; it has also proven to be popular with law enforcement agencies. Production of the type was continued into the twenty-first century by Hughes' successor companies, McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Systems, and subsequently MD Helicopters. While the MD 500 series has been largely operated by civil customers, it has occasionally seen military use, even to the extent of performing front line combat operations. The Salvadoran Air Force deployed their examples during the Salvadoran Civil War, leading to several losses. North Korea also covertly obtained a fleet of MD500s for military purposes, some of which have been allegedly configured into gunships.

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